Saturday, 7 November 2009

Epic blogging fail

So I guess blogging this year has been a complete failure - it started off well but it just kind of tailed away. I've identified several reasons for this:

1. My life is so much less exciting now that I'm no longer an Oxford student.
I had a summer where I did fuck all apart from sleep, eat and listen to TMS. Don't get me wrong, it was just the ticket having worked so hard for the last 4 years (and also the fact that my next chance to do this will probably be retirement in over 40 years time), but it yielded very little bloggable material.

2. My laptop and I went through a rocky patch then later divorced.
I started saying it was too slow; it crashed in a strop; I said "sorry, maybe we can work things through?"; it said "ok, as long as you don't mind me taking 20 minutes to open itunes, only have one tab open in firefox at a time, and go mental as soon as you try to change virus software." Needless to say our relationship never quite recovered. But now am shacked up with my newer, sexier model of a laptop with resolution so sharp it could dice onions.

3. Twitter make me distil my thoughts into a more terse and concentrated form, like poetry.
Ok, so clearly the actual reason for using Twitter more is that I'm too lazy to elucidate my life and emotions beyond more than a deliberately mysterious or ambiguous sentence or a shamefully vacuous thought (with pronouns, punctuation and actual substance removed of course). This obviously doesn't stop me incessantly pestering everyone I know to start using Twitter - in fact why don't you set up an account and follow me at

4. There are so many amazing bloggers out there why would anyone want to read my general ramblings?
They have no central theme apart from me: a dubious material at any time, and one very unlikely to interest most of humanity.

I guess what I'm trying to say is sorry. I'm now living and working in Wokingham in Berkshire - a nice little town near Reading, and if my life is interesting enough I'll post about it. More likely than not though I'll be blogging about more general things, for instance why I often am overcome with existential doubt in the dairy aisle in Tescos, why HMV staff dislike Bruce Forsyth and why I joined the Labour party because I thought their policies are shit...

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Glastonbury 2009 Thursday

Ok, Glastonbury may have been almost 2 months ago now - but it deserves a post. Obviously I had an amazing time - I spent more time just chilling out around the Green Fields and the Field of Avalon this year rather than running from stage to stage like the previous year, I think this helped me enjoy the acts I did go and see a lot more (in no small part due to taking it easy on my feet).

Who I saw...

Stornoway (Myspace)

They're starting to get the press and airplay they deserve. Local Oxford band who I went to see these guys at the Jericho for my birthday back in October and they were simply awesome. They subsequently became the sound of my last year at Uni - framing it from October at the JT to June at the Avalon Cafe (and they got me through several Sunday afternoons of algebraic topology study in between!).

Maximo Park (Myspace)
We stood in the blistering mid-afternoon sun and avoided a stampede to see these guys - good fun though.

Liz Green (Myspace)
I went to see this girl on a recommendation from a friend's friend. It may have been beautiful acoustic music or it may have been utter shite - it was impossible to tell because her sound was terrible! Her microphone was turned down way too low for a relatively large tent. Having listened to her myspace since I really enjoy her music and would definitely go and see her again if I had the chance, but hopefully this time in a more intimate setting suited to her music, and not one where I was asked by a complete stranger if I had "banged a lot of girls" at Oxford.

Mad Dog McRea (Myspace)
We danced and capered to the reels of this West Country folk band. The have a cult following in Plymouth and it really came across in the atmosphere at the Avalon Cafe - pure Glastonbury, away from the main stages utter spontaniety, ridiculously quirky and bagfulls of fun.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Is it wrong to have a crush on an Archers character?

Is it? Anyway, haven't updated in ages...but I meant to post this at the end of June:

Anyway, I left Oxford on Saturday bringing to a close four often stressful but wonderful years. Walking through the Oxonian streets last week and looking at buildings I would never see day-to-day again tugged on my heartstrings, not so much tugged - it felt more like a trapeize artist was doing violent somersaults on them. On Friday we had a leavers' formal preceeded by a champagne reception. First of all this was my third champers reception in a week, to which Catherine sagely opined "You know you're at Oxford when you groan at the thought of another champagne reception". First of all I don't even like champagne, I have never understood why it has become the drink of high society: fashionable because it is expensive, expensive because it is fashionable. I can think of far more delicious things to drink. So whilst I'm drinking this stuff that I have to pretend to like in polite society the Principal of Somerville College DBE sweeps in and complements our respective choices of tie. In an attempt to show how consummate I am in such refined company I engage her in conversation. A cordial dialogue ensues during which one-by-one each of my friends effortlessly slink away. I expected her to flutter from person to person. She didn't. Awkward conversation ensued for several minutes during which time my glass was refilled 3 times by waiters.

Fizz going to my head. Sweating profusely. Awkward silence.

"Mrs Thatcher is recovering well." Dame Fi remarked. What do you say to that? To your college principal and a knight of the realm? "Shit, will she never die? I've a bottle of dom perrignon I've been waiting to crack out. I don't like champagne I just thought it would add to the gaity of the day when it comes." Instead the noise I make can best be described as a thoughtful hum, wincing as if someone were squeezing my balls. After what seemed like an hour but which was probably ten minutes, the catering manager saved me by informing us that dinner was "to be served shortly"

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

No More Hiroshimas

I just burnt my knee ironing. Ouch.

I was actually quite surprised how easily my skin completely burnt off. Bizarrely, it made me think of what it must have been like on a somewhat larger and and more lethal scale for those in Hiroshima in 1945. I'm not entirely sure if I just made some sort of profound connection with a common humanity or I am just completely vain by associating a cataclysmic event with a minor domestic accident.

Tomorrow I shall do some hoovering which hopefully won't remind me of the Rwandan genocide.

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Most Disturbing Thing You'll See Today?

Yes. Yes it is.

Plastic Bag Guilt

It is a scenario we have all become familiar with: you’re walking home when you realize “ooops! I think I run out of milk/toilet roll/whaling harpoons. Better pop into Sainsbo’s”. It being an impromptu shop you have come ill prepared – no cotton bag. Reaching the checkout you are served by an unusually chirpy assistant ‘ah, they must be new,’ you smile to yourself. Yet to have the life drained out of them, not a drone just yet. Supermarkets usually conduct lobotomies on their employees only at their first appraisal I hear.

“That’s £10.95, please”
You flash your debit card.
“Any cash-back?”
“No thanks.”
“Enter your pin please”
Punch ****
“Do you need a bag?”
“Yes please”

All of sudden you previously friendly interlocutor pulls a face as if you have just shat in Al Gore’s face.

I call this “plastic bag guilt”. Now don’t get me wrong I’m all for saving the environment, reducing waste, cutting CO2 emissions, recycling, paddy fields, polar bears, ice caps, Joan Rivers’ face yada yada yada. Hell I even voted Green in the Euro elections. But you know what? I don’t have cotton bags on my person all of the time – I barely have room in my pockets for the Holy Trinity of keys, phone, wallet. Where do you suggest that I keep a stash of canvas bags? In my underpants? This would give me impressive girth but may attract the wrong sort of attention.

In all seriousness, I do use canvas bag probably 90% of the time I go shopping and I think it is great that people are more conscious of how their habit affects the environment, but it annoys me that society has made using plastic bags THE cardinal eco-sin. It seems like people have chosen to concentrate on one of the easiest habits to change rather than confronting more challenging ones. There are so many things that we do on a day-to-day basis that have a greater adverse effect to the environment. Next time you are at the supermarket, don’t just think about your carrier bags ponder on the amount of meat you eat. Eating just one vegetarian meal a week can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. It’s actually surprisingly easy, and although I’m not ready to give up on bacon sandwiches just yet, one meal a week is barely anything. A good veggie curry - mmmmmmm.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


I have an exam today, this afternoon in fact. So what better way to spend the last few hours before it procrastinating on the internet and updating a blog which, because of the last 2 months spent encased in the library, I have neglected to update. Apart from my beautiful niece, born just before my encarceration in Somerville College library lower extension began, nothing has happend in my life except maths. The worst part is that this year was entirely optional - so all this pain, stress and boredom is entirely self-inflicted.

How can I have been working for so long and feel like I know so little? Why do I never have any self-confidence?

Ok, so this post was rather self-pitying but I just wanted people to know that I'm still alive and that on Monday I enter a land which I always thought was mythical - a life that does not consist of losing 3 months of each spring/early summer to revision and exams.

May listen to some motivational music to psyche self up... Toodles!